Shimla (Oct 5): While every Himachali may believe their state to be number one in the country when it comes to tourism, but data released by the market research division of the Union tourism ministry does not mention it among the top 10 states for domestic travel.
The data states that 15.75 crore Indian tourists visited Andhra Pradesh in 2009 (the leading state), while UP and Tamil Nadu received 13.48 crore and 11.57 crore visitors respectively. In fourth, fifth and sixth place were Karnataka (3.27 crore), Rajasthan (2.55 crore) and Maharashtra (2.37 crore), respectively. Himachal Pradesh had just 1.1 crore Indian tourists in 2009. Kashmir had 92.35 lakh, Kerala 77.89 lakh and Goa 21.27 lakh.
With the middle class getting more mobile, the ministry predicts the domestic market will grow at a healthy clip of 20% in 2010. Together the top ten states accounted for 88% of total domestic visits in 2009, which shows how miniscule Himachal’s share is, considering that the state governments have very proudly been declaring it to be a tourism economy.
Religious tourism or work-related visits have pulled domestic tourists to places like Andhra and Tamil Nadu, or for that matter, even Rajasthan or Maharashtra.